First look at All Creatures Great and Small Christmas episode as Channel 5 releases preview images

James and Helen prepare for their first Christmas officially together and Mrs Pumphrey frets over Tricki Woo’s health, as Darrowby gets ready for the festive season. Stephanie Smith reports.

All Creatures Great and Small will return for a Christmas episode over the festive season, with storylines celebrating community spirit and togetherness, a theme certain to chime with modern-day viewers finally able to gather with friends, neighbours and loved ones this year.

New images released by Channel 5 today show Darrowby, for which the Yorkshire Dales village of Grassington is used, dressed for the festive season with the market square loaded with Christmas trees and holly as Mrs Hall does her shopping for the big day. The Christmas Eve party at Skeldale House has become an eagerly awaited annual event, and this year is no exception.

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Series Two ended with the engagement of young vet James Herriot (Nicolas Ralph) and young farmer Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton), who now face a timeless and highly recognisable festive dilemma - where to spend Christmas Day and eat their Christmas dinner. Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) is expecting them at Skeldale House and Helen’s sister Jenny (played by Harrogate Grammar School student Imogen Clawson) is planning a feast at the family farm, Heston Grange. The couple are reluctant to disappoint either party, a situation that raises bigger questions about what their lives together will look like in the future.

Mrs Pumphrey is concerned for Tricki Woo's health over the Christmas period.

There is no rest from animal emergencies for the Darrowby vets over the festive period. James attends the seriously ill sheep of a curmudgeonly Dales farmer, while Siegfried (Samuel West) is consulted when Mrs Pumphrey (Patricia Hodge) becomes concerned about the health of her adored, pampered pooch Tricki Woo. Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) realises that it might be time to take himself more seriously and reveals some important news, and a card from James’s father asking him to phone them on Christmas Day leaves him nervous as to whether he can make amends for the disappointment he is causing his parents by not moving back to his native Glasgow.

Season Two was set in 1938, the year before the Second World War started, and the final episode touched on the prospect of war with news of Neville Chamberlain entering peace talks, leaving the characters nervous about what was on the horizon. But, for now at least, it is a time for love, togetherness and mutual support, celebrated in an episode guaranteed to touch the heart and remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas.

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The announcement of the date and time of the first screening of the All Creatures Great and Small Christmas episode is expected soon.

Jenny (Imogen Clawson), Helen (Rachel Shenton) and James (Nicholas Ralph) decorate the tree.
Is love in the air for Mrs Hall? From left: Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse), Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley), Diana Brompton (Dorothy Atkinson), Gerald Hammond (Will Thorp).
Festive celebrations at Skeldale House for Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton), Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) and Siegfried (Samuel West).
A sprinking of snow outside Skeldale House.
Preparing for the festivities, Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley), Helen (Rachel Shenton) and James (Nicholas Ralph).
Will Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) find success under the mistletoe?